French patio doors have a bit of a bad reputation in terms of child safety. The large glass panels in many of these doors have been known to shatter if kids fall into them. Further, parents worry about their child pushing the doors open and wandering onto the patio if the doors happen to not latch properly. You don't necessarily have to choose between your children's safety and the beautiful patio doors you've always dreamed of -- as long as you're willing to choose a certain style of door and take a few extra safety precautions.
Choose doors with multiple glass panels, rather than a single panel.
One way to increase safety is to choose French patio doors that have 15 or 20 small glass panels separated by wood, rather than doors with one large glass panel. Yes, one small glass panel may still crack if your child throws a hard toy at it, but a broken small glass panel will do a lot less damage than a shattered door-size panel.
Look for no-shatter glass panels.
If you absolutely cannot part with the idea of having single-panel doors, then look for some that are made from shatter-proof glass. This type of glass is coated with a special laminate that will keep pieces of glass from flying everywhere if it does break. Your children can still cut themselves on broken shatter-proof glass, but at least the chances of pieces being scattered across the floor are diminished. Shatter-proof glass doors are typically more expensive than standard glass panels, but the extra cost is worth it for your children's safety.
If you're considering getting laminated shatter-proof panels, look into getting ones that also block out UV light. That way, you won't have to worry about your children (or yourself) getting sunburned when playing on the floor in front of the big patio doors.
Hang the doors so that they swing into your home.
Most patios you see in home decorating magazines have French doors that swing outward. However, this is not the safest arrangement for kids, since the doors could swing open when a child leans on them if they have not been latched properly. If you have the doors hung so that they swing into your home, you won't have this problem. This arrangement also forces you to keep the area in front of your patio doors clear, resulting in fewer things for children to climb on (and possibly fall off of into the door).
Purchase doors with a second lock at the top.
Once your kids learn how to open doors on their own, you'll have to be careful that they don't open the patio doors and venture outside. A multi-point locking system can prevent this. Look for doors that not only have a standard lock in the middle, but also a second lock near the top. Your children should not be able to reach this lock, even if they can reach the regular door handle. Make a habit of always locking the top lock when you're home.
Hide a key somewhere in your yard.
There's always a chance your child could run inside off of the patio, closing and locking the doors behind himself or herself. Instances like this are a lot less worrisome if you have a hidden key. Don't put the key somewhere obvious, like under the mat. Less common hiding places include buried in a case beneath a specific bush, taped to the back of the propane tank in your grill case, or taped to the bottom surface of the garage door.
Any French patio door with glass is never going to be 100% safe for children. However, if you follow the tips above, you can make your doors safe enough that the risk of injuries and other incidents is quite low. Above all else, supervising your children carefully when they are near the glass doors is essential. Make sure they know that the area around the doors is a no-running and no-jumping zone.
Now that you know how to make French patio door safer for your children, you can hop over to this website to find out how you can get these doors for your home